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Countess of Chester Hospital recruits schoolchildren for anti-smoking campaign

Years 5 and 6 pupils at Upton Westlea used artistic skills to spread the word

The Countess of Chester Hospital has recruited schoolchildren from Westlea Primary School in its bid to tackle the issue of smoking on hospital grounds. PICTURED: Enayah Miah, Year 6

The Countess of Chester Hospital has recruited local schoolchildren in its bid to tackle the issue of smoking on hospital grounds.

The Trust recently asked pupils at nearby Upton Westlea Primary School to design posters to help get the message across to patients, visitors and staff that the Countess is a Smokefree site and the children in Mr Spruce’s Year 5 class and Mr Hall’s Year 6 class were happy to oblige.

Upton Westlea Primary School’s headteacher Kath Carruthers said: “Designing the posters for the Countess of Chester Hospital campaign to stop people smoking on the grounds has highlighted to the children the health risks suffered by smokers.

“The project has enabled them to not only use their art skills but also research the effects of smoking. Many are now saying ‘I will never smoke’. The posters they’ve designed are amazing. They are vibrant and eye-catching whilst still conveying an important message. I am extremely proud of all the children who have participated in this very important campaign.”

Executive director of people & organisational development Sue Hodkinson with Janae Thomas, her winning poster and occupational health and wellbeing manager Kathryn de Beger at The Countess

The children’s artwork was so good that the Trust has displayed the winners’ posters in the main reception and all of the children’s posters will be used as part of a social media campaign to ask people to refrain from smoking when at the hospital.

Executive director of people & organisational development at the Countess Sue Hodkinson said: “Despite being a smokefree trust we still have a big problem with people smoking on our grounds. We are not alone in this but rather than put it in the ‘too hard to do drawer’ we thought we would try a fresh approach.

“We are so pleased we did as the children have designed some fantastic posters which we hope will catch everyone’s attention a lot more than the traditional signage and make them think twice before lighting up at the hospital.”

The children’s artwork will now be used as part of a social media campaign at the hospital, just in time for national No Smoking Day on Wednesday, March 8. When asked about their involvement in and inspiration for the project it was clear they had all put a lot of thought into their posters.

Enayah Miah, Year 6

No Smoking at the Countess – the kids have their say:

Daisy Turrell, Year 5 said: “I did the big no smoking symbol in the middle just so it’s clear that you shouldn’t smoke because it’s bad for you.”

Taylor Thorp, Year 5 said: “I made the figure look like the Joker because I know that the Joker is bad in Batman movies so you can link it to smoking being bad.”

Preston Craig, Year 5 said: “I think it’s very important to tell people not to smoke because people in hospital might already be in there for smoking so they might not want to get worse.”

Enayah Miah, Year 6 said: “It’s really important to tell people not to smoke because people are already suffering in the hospital and they can make it even worse.”

A winning poster was selected from each year and both are on display in the main reception of the hospital.

Occupational health and wellbeing manager Kathryn de Beger with Issie Wheeler, her winning poster and executive director of people & organisational development Sue Hodkinson at The Countess

Issie Wheeler, Year 5 winner said: “It feels good to know my poster is going to be used at the hospital. My Mum’s going to take me to go down and see it some time.”

Janae Thomas, Year 6 winner said: “I feel really proud of myself that it’s going to be used at the hospital because my Mum used to work there [at the Countess] before she had my baby brother. When Mrs Carruthers told her she was really, really happy and proud of me.”

Sue Hodkinson added: “Thank you to all of the pupils for taking part. I really hope their posters will help us to take another step towards becoming a truly Smokefree hospital.”

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